Why Does Menopause Occur?
Menopause sometimes referred to as ‘the change of life’ as it marks the end of a woman’s reproductive life. Is a stage in every woman's life when, firstly, the menstrual cycle & ovulation becomes infrequent (perimenopause), and then, eventually stops for good - menopause.
The average age for women to go through menopause is 51 years. The most common age range is 48-55 years. Interesting, menopause is more likely to occur at a slightly earlier age in women who smoke or have never been pregnant,
The reason for menopause to occur is very simple; you are born with your lifetime supply of eggs. Each menstrual cycle throughout your life, early in that cycle, a few off those eggs mature. Eventually though, only one fully matures to be ready for ovulation and possible pregnancy.
By the time you reach your 40’s/50’s, your egg supply is starting to run dry so, when your menstrual cycle starts again, trying to mature one of its eggs, there are few quality eggs left, this is why, through perimenopause, your cycles are infrequent, sometimes your body can find an egg to mature, at other times it cannot.
Your menstrual cycle is under the control of your brain and it controls your cycle via hormones.
In a nutshell, here’s how it all works;
1️⃣ At the start, your brain sends to your ovaries a hormone called FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) to stimulate your eggs in matuation. Remember, only one will fully mature each menstrual cycle
2️⃣ This maturing egg release estrogen, this is where the majority of your estrogen is produced.
3️⃣ When estrogen levels reach a certain point, your brain picks up on this and sends down a surge of another hormone called Luteinizing hormone (LH).
4️⃣ This surge of LH is what triggers ovulation
5️⃣ After ovulation, the left-over follicle in which your egg was living becomes the corpus luteum, it’s this that is your source of progesterone.
6️⃣ The corpus luteum starts to dissolve by the end of your menstrual cycle, normally lasting 28 days and right at the end of your cycle, you will start to shed your uterine lining - what many women refer to as their period (bleed).
So, you can now see that your main sources of estrogen and progesterone are dependant on your menstrual cycle. Estrogen & progesterone are important for many aspects of your overall health and body, including;
❌ Fat distribution
❌ Energy balance
❌ Energy levels
❌ Stress management
❌ Hunger levels
❌ Sleep quality
When your cycle becomes infrequent, like through perimenopause, these hormones go bezerk, sometimes their high, sometimes their low. This is why perimenopause is the phase associated with the worse menopausal symptoms such as; hot flashes, anxiety, depression, weight gain, sleep issues, brain fog etc.
In wrapping this post up; menopause occurs because your supply of eggs is drying up, resulting in infrequent, and then completely missing menstrual cycles. In turn, this creates issues with your hormones as many of them are directly tied to your menstrual cycle.
Lastly, your hormones are vitally important for many aspects of your overall health and well-being, when you have unhappy hormones, you’ll bloody feel it.
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